Friday, June 26, 2015

Let's Get A Little Closer


I am a creature of habit, which means that I don't really like change.  That is probably why I have kept the same blog design for the past four years.  It was time for an update, don't ya think?  So to go along with my updated blog design, here are some random things that you probably didn't know about me.

1)  Learning how to make the perfect egg salad sandwich is on my bucket list.  I have had a few really good ones in my life, and I wish I knew what the secret ingredient was that made them so tasty.

2)  This blog post about making Six Lists completely changed the way I plan my week.

3)  I love to put green olives on my pizza.

4)  I have been obsessed with all things Lana Del Rey for about a year now.  There is currently no end in sight.

5)  I have a blog post from 2012 that I never actually got around to posting, but probably will because I like the content.

6)  The blog The Chloe Conspiracy is the blog that made me want to blog.  Coincidentally, she was also the first person to ever comment on my blog (not that I was super-excited about it or anything).

7)  People that don't use their turn signals are a huge pet peeve of mine.

8)  I cannot drive with a coat on.  It is way too restricting.

9)  I was in accidents twice in my life where I had my two front teeth knocked out.  Once in kindergarten and once in high school.

10)  One day, I would really like to have a sea horse tank.

11)  Nutella and banana crepes are a serious weakness of mine.  I have a hard time passing them up when they are are any menu.  Our local pizza joint also delivers them, which is SO terrible and wonderful.

12)  I love cleaning out my house and purging items that no longer make me joyful or have a specific purpose.  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up really spoke to me.

13)  I am constantly rewriting popular songs in my head and making them about my dogs.

14)  I think that the Thriller scene in 13 Going on 30 is one of the best movie dance scenes ever.

15)  I watch Family Guy every night before I go to sleep.

16)  My husband and I often have conversations that purely revolve around quotes from Family Guy.

17)  I cannot read books about dogs.  I just know that it is going to be a heartwarming story about how the quirky yet lovable dog is the central part of a family and is loved for its shenanigans until it inevitably dies, and I just can't handle that.  Marley and Me sent me into complete hysterics while I was driving.  I had to pull over.  I really want to read The Art of Racing in the Rain, but don't know if I can handle it.

18)  Whenever Veronica Mars or My So-Called Life reruns are on, I will watch them.

19)  The first thing I do when I wake up every morning is give my dogs belly-rubs and get them all hyper before we go on our walk.

20)  Petunia the pug is always the last one to go to bed at night and the last one up in the morning (she takes after me).

21)  If I had to choose between cheese and chocolate, the answer would always be cheese.

22)  I would love to bake my way through one entire cookbook.  I tend to shy away from recipes that seem overly complicated or flavors that may not immediately speak to me.  I think this would be a great exercise in both learning some patience and discovering new foods.  I just need to decide on a cookbook.

23)  I brush my teeth in the shower.

24)  Aside from reading blogs, I also enjoy watching vlogs on YouTube.  A few of my favorite vloggers are here, here, here, here, and here.

25)  If I could be any animal for a day, I would like to be a narwhal.  If I could be any person for a day, I would be Gwen Stefani.  She seems like she would be a lot of fun.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Stow Lake and Strawberry Hill


Inside Golden Gate Park, there is a doughnut-shaped lake with a small hill in the middle of it.  Stow Lake and Strawberry Hill are fun places to discover if you like to do a little hiking.  You can also rent pedal boats and row boats and explore the lake itself.  It is a peaceful retreat in the middle of San Francisco.

This is Golden Gate Pavilion, a Chinese peace pagoda.  It was gifted to the park by Taipei in 1976.



You can easily spot assorted wildlife, including turtles and seagulls around the lake itself.




Once you cross one of the two bridges onto Strawberry Hill, you can see Huntington Falls, which is man-made, but still charming.


Fact: Strawberry Hill is named for the wild strawberries that used to grow on the island.  You can hike all the way to the top.  When the flowers are in bloom, the walk up is just beautiful.  There is a lot to see, and this is just a sample.









On a clear day, you get exceptional view of San Francisco from the top of the hill.  Today, it was mostly fog.





This was a really fun place to explore; great for family outings or a solo morning hike.  Just another thing to love about Golden Gate Park.  If you happen to be in San Francisco, spend a little time here. It is a great way to reconnect with nature in the middle of a bustling city.  

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I've Been Everywhere, Man


I recently spent a few weeks on a much needed vacation.  My husband and I flew back to the East Coast to spend some time with my family. The one thing that was at the top of my list to pack was also the only thing I forgot, my DSLR camera.  That means that all of my pictures are iPhone snaps (translation: selfie-heavy).  However, I think my phone captured the essence of the trip pretty well.

The first leg of our journey was to Northern Florida.  My mom has a house on the Suwannee River, and we spent a few days visiting with her.  The is the view from her living room.  Not too shabby for the middle of nowhere!


There were tree frogs everywhere.  I discovered this guy sitting on the side of my mom's truck.  He was neither camera shy, nor afraid of people.  He would make a terrific mascot for Dodge.


This is my mom's dog, Trouble.  She found him abandoned as a tiny little puppy, and they have been best friends every since.


The second leg of our trip was in sunny South Florida (where I am originally from).  My mom came along with us, and we spent the days visiting with family.  This amazing hand-carved crab chair was in the house where we were staying.  There was a second chair and a matching coffee table too.  I was completely smitten.  


One of the things I miss the most about living in the South is the Spanish moss that covers many of the trees.  Sometimes you don't realize how much you liked something until you don't see it daily anymore.



We also spent a few days at my sister's house.  She lives on the Intercoastal, and we passed our time boating and soaking up the sun.  Sister selfie!

 My sister's dog, Brutus.


My sister's other dog, Zeus.  


Zeus had to don the cone of shame during the time we were there, and watching him play with Brutus was hysterical.


Obligatory "I'm laying out on a boat" shot.


Proof my husband also came along on the trip.  


I am not much of a selfie taker (especially when I am the only person in the picture), but when on vacation, why not?



For the last leg of our vacation, we flew up to Atlanta and spent time with yet more family.  I would like you show you all of the pictures I took, but this was about it (yet, I feel it may be the most important one).  We checked out the local gourmet burger chain, BurgerFi. (Note: once I got home I realized we had one here in Napa too).  It was delicious.  Are these not the biggest onion rings you have ever seen?



We soaked up some more family time, and then flew back home.  We actually flew out of the Savannah airport, which was one of the classiest joints in which I have had the privilege of hanging out and waiting for an airplane. There were rocking chairs and free lemonade, and even a pianist performing for a captive audience.  It was a relaxing end to a nice vacation.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter in Napa Valley



This Easter, the husband's family decided to do a family lunch up in Napa.  I always love an excuse to go exploring up there, so I woke up early and excited.  It was a cold and rainy day, which was not a bad thing, because we are in the midst of a serious drought.  This is what low-laying clouds on a rainy day look like over the vineyards.



We have a tradition of meeting up at Dean and Deluca's before we eat, to do a little gourmet shopping.



Of course, the first place I stopped was the pastry counter.  I will tell you right now, doing this on an empty stomach is a very bad idea.  


Everything looked so pretty and so yummy.  I don't get up here very often, so I figured I needed to try out a bunch of things at once to see what I liked.


Our next stop was the cheese counter.  I don't think one can ever have too much cheese in their fridge. We left with a cheddar and a brie.


I was really into these pig bowls (and I kind of regret not leaving with one).  They are so stinking cute, and totally Napa style.  I just wasn't really sure where I would put one.  


There were lots of enticing displays for other things I didn't need, like theses beautiful copper pots.



And these colorful glass bottles.


I haven't ever tried Blanton's Kentucky bourbon, but this was one of the prettiest bottles I have ever seen.  This may be another item I regret not purchasing, but one I am sure I can find closer to home.  


This display of Dickel whiskey was complete with a certificate of authenticity and a barrel.


Our next stop was Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen, which is owned by renowned chef Cindy Pawlcyn.


The menu had so many tasty offerings that it was hard to narrow it down to one entree.


I went with the lobster cobbster (Cindy's take on a Cobb salad) and it was delicious (and photographed nicely as well).


Restaurant ambiance


By the time the dessert menu came, I had already looked through pictures on Yelp, and I knew exactly what I wanted.


This work of art is called the Campfire Pie, and made of toasted marshmallow, fudgy chocolate, almond ding, and and Oreo crust.  It was pure perfection.



We also tried the lemon buttermilk souffle cake, which was also really good (but not quite as spectacular to photograph).


When we got home, I took a photo of our confections from Dean and Deluca so I could always remember their deliciousness.  I give especially high praise to the black and white cookie and the pistachio macaron.  



I hope everyone had a nice weekend, however you spent it.

For previous Easter in Napa, click here.

I'm Erin

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Hi, I am Erin. Transplanted east coaster, living on the left coast. I love to take pictures and read fashion magazines.... and to talk about nothing in particular (ok, and my dogs).

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